Cleveland, OH—Cleveland Kurentovanje (koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay), a Slovenian-infused Mardi Gras festival, is carnival event that has been celebrated in Slovenia for the past 50 years, connecting culture, arts, and people from all over Europe. The central figure of the carnival, the Kurent, is believed to chase away winter and usher in spring with its supernatural powers. Since it’s conception in 2013, Cleveland Kurentovanje has been held in the historical Slovenian immigrant neighborhood of St. Clair-Superior and has seen exponential growth with thousands in attendance each year.
This year, Cleveland Kurentovanje has expanded to span four days of cultural and celebratory events:
- Monday, February 20th: Cleveland Kurentovanje has partnered with Dinner in the Dark and the CLE Dinner Club to present a multi-course dinner with Slovenian wines at the Slovenian National Home.
- Tuesday, February 21st: The Slovenian Museum and Archives will open an exhibit on the many historical carnival masks of Slovenia.
- Friday, February 24th: The “Kurent Jump” will kick off the weekend festivities where the Kurents will come out and start their mission of scaring away winter at the Goldhorn Brewery while revelers enjoy food and beer.
- Saturday, February 6th: The Cleveland Kurentovanje parade and festival will take place with many musical and cultural performances, authentic food and drink, ice carving demonstrations, kids activities and handmade crafts.
Details of these events are as follows:
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017, 6:30PM: KURENTOVANJE DINNER IN THE DARK
Join us as we kick off a week of Cleveland Kurentovanje celebrations with a special Kurentovanje-inspired dinner presented by Dinner in the Dark & the CLE Dinner Club, benefiting Cleveland Kurentovanje. The event will take place at The Slovenian National Home (6417 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland), and will feature a multicourse menu with Slovenian wine pairings.
Tickets are $86.99 and available on EventBrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dinner-in-the-dark-slovenian-national-home-tickets-31529200688). Due to the format of the meal, we are unable to accommodate dietary restrictions. Please contact [email protected] with any questions in advance of purchasing. There are a limited number of tickets so be sure to place your order soon!
About Dinner in the Dark: Dinner in the Dark brings together different chefs each month, cooking together, often for the first time, at a different venue. Dinner in the Dark, behind co-creators Brian Okin and Jeff Jarrett, brings together Cleveland’s chefs and food lovers for an impromptu dinner designed to stimulate your palate and surprise your taste buds by offering you no idea of what you will eat or drink or who will be cooking for you. Imagine allowing yourself to let go of your inhibitions and enjoy great food and wine from some of Cleveland’s best chefs, by allowing them to indulge in their most inner creativeness and challenge your senses.
About CLE Dinner Club: Organizer Joe Gramc works with local chefs throughout Northeast Ohio to offer one-night prix fixe menus that focuses solely on the food and chefs’ mastery. For updates, follow @CLEDinnerClub on Twitter and email [email protected] to receive updates on future events.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017, 6-9PM: Slovenian Museum & Archives Presents an Exhibit on Historical Masks of Slovenian Mardi Gras
The Slovenian Museum and Archives (6407 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland) will open an exhibit on the historical masks of Slovenian Mardi Gras. For centuries, masks have been used throughout Slovenia in the celebration of Mardi Gras — the Kurent is the most well known Slovenian mask here in Cleveland, but in fact, there are several others which are all highly unique and intriguing. This exhibit will explore the wide variety of traditional masks, as well as their origins and meanings. This exhibition is loaned by the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The event will run from 6-9pm, and begin with a 45-minute presentation in English by Adela Pukl, M.Sc., a curator at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, where she is responsible for the collections of the Department of Spiritual Culture. Admission is free and open to the public and a spread of complimentary refreshments will be provided.
About Slovenian Museum and Archives: The Slovenian Museum and Archives is a non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to preserve and share Slovenian ethnic identity and its various migration experiences in a sophisticated, multi-functional and interactive dwelling. SMA provides an educational, cultural and literary resource for families that includes archives, library and museum.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017, 6-9PM: KURENT JUMP: The Kickoff of the 2017 Cleveland Kurentovanje Festival
The Kurent Jump on Friday, February 24, 2017 will kick off the Cleveland Kurentovanje weekend at Goldhorn Brewery (1361 East 55th, Cleveland).
Kurent Jump is traditionally the first time that the Kurents appear in public, with their bells loudly ringing as they dance around a bonfire, initiating the Kurents’ mission of chasing winter to make way for spring. The Kurent Jump is a phenomenon that has emerged in recent times in Slovenia, and this is the second year we will hold this event in Cleveland.
In addition to the spectacle of the Kurent Jump, attendees will enjoy:
- A complementary drink– your first drink is on us!
- Complementary heavy appetizers
- A special Kurentovanje Pivo (beer) will be available
- Free Tours of the Goldhorn Brewery
Through the generosity of the Goldhorn Brewery, 100% of all ticket sales will go directly towards offsetting the costs of Cleveland Kurentovanje, including the purchase of new Kurent costumes which cost upwards of $2000 each.
Pre-sale tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite for $25 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurent-jump-2017-tickets-30757550662) and at the door the day of for $30 (cash only).
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017, 11am-6pm: Cleveland Kurentovanje Parade & Festival
Get ready to celebrate Kurentovanje with a full day of festivities including a parade, lots of food, music and much more! The event is headquartered at The Slovenian National Home Home (6417 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland) and is free and open to the public. The schedule for the day is as follows:
11am: Doors open at The Slovenian National Home. Come early for kids crafting and face-painting in anticipation of the parade. Food, drinks and shopping will also be available.
12pm: Parade kicks off traditional Kurentovanje, which will stretch through the neighborhood, departing Sterle’s Country House/ Goldhorn Brewery, proceeding down E55th to St. Clair Ave, and ultimately ending at the Slovenian National Home. The procession will include Kurents, polka and marching bands, dance troupes, and other parading groups. Community organizations and groups of friends/family are encouraged to participate in the parade by signing up at www.ClevelandKurentovanje.com. All visitors are encouraged to dress in costume of any kind to celebrate in the Mardi Gras tradition.
Until 6pm: Party time! Full programming on indoor and covered/heated outdoor stages at the Slovenian National Home will be sure to entertain you! Enjoy ethnic food and drinks, free face-painting and crafts for kids, ice carving demonstrations, and multiple stages of musical acts and cultural performances. Cleveland Kurentovanje in partnership with the Cleveland Bocce Club will be holding the First Annual Kurentovanje Bocce Tournament at the Slovenian National Home held during the annual Kurentovanje Festival. Bocce teams should email to [email protected] to participate. Local craftspeople will also be selling homemade edibles and handmade goods.
Cleveland Kurentovanje is run by an all-volunteer steering committee and is supported by in-kind donations and sponsorships from businesses and organizations. Donations of all kinds are accepted through the St Clair Superior Development Corporation, the festival’s non-profit fiscal agent.